SOAS University of London

Department of Religions & Philosophies, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Vedic Sanskrit

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2017/2018
Year of study:
Year 2 or Year 3
Taught in:
Full Year
This course is designed to help students with a solid foundation in Classical Sanskrit or Avestan to make the transition to reading Vedic texts. The course will primarily focus on readings of texts selected from the Rig, Yajur and Atharva Samhitas, as well as from the Brahmanas, Upanishads and Shrauta Sutras.


The aim of the course are:

  • to provide students who have a sound knowledge of the Classical Sankskrit language with a secure foundation in the knowledge of Vedic vocabulary, grammar, syntax
  • to introduce students to the corpus of primary texts in Vedic literature
  • to introduce students to reading of Vedic Sanskrit
  • to familiarize students to secondary source materials.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

By the end of the course students should be able to:

  • translate unseen and seen Vedic verse and prose texts with the aid of a dictionary
  • justify all translations with reference to grammatical and syntactical principles
  • identify the main linguistic differences between Vedic and Classical Sanskrit
  • understand the basic methods of historical linguistics

Scope and syllabus

Student will be encouraged to make full use of the scholarly resources available for interpretation of the Vedic language, including dictionaries, grammars, monographs and articles.

Method of assessment

2 essays (20% each), 3-hour exam (60%).

Suggested reading

  • T.Burrow, The Sanskrit Language, London 1973.
  • B.Delbruck, Altindische Syntax, Halle 1888.
  • H. Grassmann, Worterbuch zum Rig-Veda, Leipzig 1872-75.
  • A.A.Macdonell, A Vedic Reader for Students, Oxford 1917.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules